By WANG XIAODONG | China Daily
Youth from China and Africa are expected to play a more active role in renewing bilateral friendship and intensifying cooperation between the two emerging international players, said participants in an online conference on Sunday.
“Youth are the hope for China and African countries and China-Africa relations,” said Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, at a conference on China-Africa youth dialogue.
“With the same dream, common mission and pursuit, youth are the driving force to promote solidarity and cooperation between the two sides, deepen friendship and seek common development.”
Alongside increasing bilateral trade and infrastructure investment in Africa, Lin said, China has also intensified efforts to support African countries to strengthen talent cultivation for self-sustained development, including financing African students to study in colleges in China through scholarship programs.
Africa is an emerging continent with rich natural resources and talent, while China is dedicated to green and low-carbon high-quality development, which has provided unprecedented new opportunities for complementary development.
Rahamtalla Osman, the African Union’s representative in China, said young Africans, whose numbers are increasing rapidly, will play a pivotal role in transforming the continent and deepening China-Africa relations. By the middle of the century, Africa’s population will double, with 60 percent of the entire population being under the age of 25.
“China has been playing a key role in supporting the empowerment of the youth in Africa through promotion of knowledge, education and cultural exchanges between young people from the two sides,” he said.
These young people live in a rapidly changing world faced with many pressures and are confronted by a wide range of political, social and economic challenges, Osman said.
“It was the recognition of these challenges that the African Union…seeks to address, among others, the elimination of all forms of systemic inequality, exploitation, marginalization and discrimination of young people and commits to sustainable investment in early childhood development, basic and higher education, as well as social, economic and political empowerment of Africa’s youth,” he said.
Backbone of society
Xie Zongxu, a PhD candidate in international relations at Tsinghua University, said young people, as the backbone of society, have responsibilities to promote building a community of shared future for humankind, and peace and development of society.
China’s success in development, including helping hundreds of millions of people to be lifted out of poverty, has provided an example of a path for other developing countries to achieve common prosperity, he said.
“China has provided a brand-new perspective and possibility for the world to solve thorny problems, which adds to global peace, stability and prosperity,” Xie said.
“It is important that China and Africa cooperate closely and share opportunities on the path to common prosperity. Young people, in particular, play an important role in the process.”